More than 100 people urged the North Allegheny School Board to keep Peebles Elementary School open.
The school board held a public hearing Wednesday on the administration's proposal to close the McCandless school for the next school year.
"While the overall population may be increasing, student enrollment has not increased since 1997 and is not expected to increase over the next 10 years," Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri said.
He added that the closure, while it won't balance next year's budget, "will be one more effort to increase operational efficiency."
But parents representing five elementary schools disagreed, saying that closing the school will increase class sizes across the board.
"Closing a school is one of the most drastic measures a school can take," Hilary Daninhirsch said. "My child is not just a number in your budget forecast. She is a person, and she will be negatively affected if Peebles is closed."
Parents also said the redistricting that will accompany the closing will affect 600 elementary and 300 middle school students. Those students would only have weeks to adjust to their new buildings if the board votes to close Peebles in May.
By law, the board cannot vote before April 30.
Most speakers urged the board to form a community task force to study ways for the district to save money without closing a school.
"You have a community filled with experts in finance, law and real estate," Frank Corona said. "You have a community filled with people who want to help."
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org First Published January 30, 2013 11:45 PM